Questions & Answers about Legal Issues

You probably have many questions concerning your rights, selecting legal counsel, and other issues. We answer many of them in this section. If you have any other questions, please call us at 503.224-4100 or send us an e-mail.

Who is responsible for my asbestos injury/illness?

Why are the asbestos companies responsible after so many years?

How do I choose an asbestos lawyer?

What is the difference between Landye Bennett Blumstein and other law firms that handle asbestos cases?

Landye Bennett Blumstein has offices in Oregon and Alaska, but I live in California or Idaho. Why should I hire Landye Bennett Blumstein instead of a local lawyer?

I am afraid of going to trial. Will I have to go to trial if I don’t want to?

How much work do I have to do to file the lawsuit? How complicated is it?

How much will it cost me to bring a lawsuit?

If I file a lawsuit, how long will it take? When will I receive my money?

Am I responsible for the expenses even if I do not get any money?

How much will your firm get from a settlement?

Is it possible that my case will get “lost” in a group or class action settlement?

Do I have to agree to a settlement if offered?

Can I sue for an asbestos injury/illness even if I never worked with asbestos personally?

Who is responsible for my asbestos injury/illness?

Most states allow recovery of damages from the manufacturers and distributors of asbestos-containing products if an action is filed within the applicable statute of limitations. The state in which you were exposed, or in which you reside, is most often the one in which you will choose to bring your action. Some states allow recovery against the owner of the premises on which you were exposed. Identifying and choosing the defendants is one of the biggest challenges in preparing an action for asbestos-related injuries. Landye Bennett and Blumstein has detailed product identification information on hundreds of job sites in the Northwest. We are also able to cooperate with law firms throughout the U.S., with whom we have worked for over twenty years, to exchange information about other job sites. Even if you do not know the manufacturers of the asbestos products that you worked around, we can probably identify most of the products based on the job sites where you worked.

Why are the asbestos companies responsible after so many years?

Although its dangers were well known in the medical community by the early 1900s, asbestos was manufactured and used in industry and construction until the mid-1970s. Some companies continued to use asbestos in their products without warnings until the mid-1980s. It was well known that the diseases associated with exposure would not occur until decades after the exposure. Many of the companies had direct knowledge from experiences in their own manufacturing facilities that the products they were making would cause disease and death. The companies chose profits over lives.

While subsequent years of research have added to the knowledge of how the diseases occur, from the time manufacturers added the fiber into their processes, its ability to cause death and disease was well documented. Despite this information, the companies expanded the uses for asbestos into a broader range of products, increased production of existing product lines, or began making asbestos-containing products for the very first time. They did this even after medical experts directly advised them that exposure to asbestos would cause lung cancer.

Under the laws of Washington and Oregon, each company that manufactured or distributed an asbestos product that you were exposed to is legally responsible for your injury. In every case, we assert a claim for negligence because the asbestos manufacturers knew or should have known that they were distributing a hazardous product. We also assert claims for strict product liability based upon the defendant’s manufacturing and distribution of an unreasonably dangerous product and failure to warn of this danger.

How do I choose an asbestos lawyer?

The lawyer-client relationship is a partnership, and the client must be comfortable with his or her lawyers for the relationship to succeed. Clients should ask the following questions:

Is the lawyer licensed to practice in my state?

How experienced is the lawyer in handling asbestos cases?

Is the lawyer familiar with the places I worked and knowledgeable about the asbestos products that were used there?

What is the lawyer’s trial record?

What jury verdicts has the lawyer achieved?

Will you be dealing directly with a lawyer, or will you mostly work with a paralegal or secretary?

Does the lawyer take the time to explain the litigation to you and treat you respectfully?

How many asbestos companies will the lawyer file claims against?

Does the lawyer offer a realistic assessment of your case?

How does the lawyer make you feel?

What is the difference between Landye Bennett Blumstein and other law firms that handle asbestos cases?

Landye Bennett Blumstein’s Jeff Mutnick has been concentrating on asbestos disease cases for over 20 years. He was the first lawyer to receive a jury verdict in the Northwest, and he has represented more individuals in Oregon and Washington than any other lawyer. He has longstanding relationships with other prominent asbestos attorneys and firms nationally, which enable him to remain in the forefront of both legal and factual issues in asbestos litigation.

We handle each case on an individual basis. We restrict the number of cases we take, so that we can give personal service to each client.

We also concentrate on asbestos cases from a medical-legal standpoint. We recognize that our clients’ medical care and treatment is of great importance. We attend the leading medical conferences. We stay in contact with doctors specializing in treating asbestos victims and remain current on the newest treatments available to our clients.

Landye Bennett Blumstein has offices in Oregon and Alaska, but I live in California or Idaho. Why should I hire Landye Bennett Blumstein instead of a local lawyer?

First, Landye Bennett Blumstein’s Jeff Mutnick has specialized in this area of the law for over 20 years. We have the expertise to handle this type of case. Second, just because you live in a different part of the country, does not mean that you should file a lawsuit or hire a lawyer in that area. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Some jurisdictions are more receptive to asbestos disease claims and claims may have higher values in different jurisdictions.
  2. You may have been exposed to asbestos in more than one state.

To some extent, you can choose where you file your lawsuit. Landye Bennett Blumstein is expert at determining the best location for your lawsuit, giving you the opportunity to receive the compensation to which you are entitled. When cases are filed in other states, we associate with local attorneys from that state. We have an extensive network of the very best attorneys throughout the country for that purpose.

I'm afraid of going to trial. Will I have to go to trial if I don't want to?

Most cases settle. It is not likely that you will have to go to trial. If it is necessary for you to go to trial, there are rules that will be enforced to make the process as noninvasive as possible.

How much work do I have to do to file the lawsuit? How complicated is it?

The hardest thing to do is to make the initial decision to file a lawsuit. After that, we attempt to make the process as easy as possible.

How much will it cost me to bring a lawsuit?

It will cost you nothing. Since Landye Bennett Blumstein works on a contingency fee basis, there are no fees to the client unless we recover money on the client’s behalf.

If I file a lawsuit, how long will it take? When will I receive my money?

The answer to this question depends on the severity of your disease. If you have a malignant diagnosis and are still alive, you will likely receive some money within four months. The entire process of litigation usually lasts no more than one year. Some companies have gone into bankruptcy or have established trusts to pay victims. The process of securing funds from these trusts can extend over a longer period.

Am I responsible for the expenses even if I do not get any money?

In Oregon, the law requires that the client be ultimately responsible for the costs of the litigation. Fortunately, in asbestos cases, many companies settle without the necessity of litigation, and these payments exceed any potential costs of litigation. In effect, the companies fund your lawsuit against the other companies.

How much will your firm get from a settlement?

Our fee is 33 1/3 percent of your recovery.

Is it possible that my case will get “lost” in a group or class action settlement?

No. Unlike some other firms, we handle each case individually. While several cases may be set for trial in a given period, our firm prepares and negotiates each individually. The U.S. Supreme Court has not allowed class actions in this type of litigation.

Do I have to agree to a settlement if offered?

No. You do not have to agree to the settlement. No client can be bound by a settlement without his or her consent. Each client has the right to accept or reject any settlement offer and have his or her day in court.

Can I sue for an asbestos injury even if I never worked with asbestos personally?

Dr. Irving Selikoff, an expert in the field, observed that “asbestos does not respect job classifications.” Just because you never worked with asbestos does not mean you were never exposed. Sailors, plumbers, electricians, ship scalars, painters, riggers, carpenters, janitors, sheet metal workers, millwrights, and other tradespeople who never personally worked with asbestos also suffered from serious asbestos diseases. Family members were also at risk from washing the clothing of their exposed family member. We have successfully represented people directly and indirectly exposed to asbestos.

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